ICAC charges HKU legal professor with fraud for misrepresenting rental subsidy application

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Alice Lee

22nd March 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has charged a legal professor from the University of Hong Kong, Alice Lee, for allegedly misrepresenting her compliance with the relevant residency regulations for applying for a self-rental subsidy. The professor is accused of committing fraud and deceiving the university to disburse more than HK$720,000 in rental and administrative expenses.

The ICAC has charged Lee, aged 54, with one count of fraud under section 16A of the Theft Ordinance. Lee joined the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong in August 1992 and applied for a self-rental subsidy for a unit in the Kowloon district in October 2005. She renewed her application every two years and had to declare her agreement to comply with the regulations for renting the subsidised unit, including residency rules.

According to the ICAC’s investigation, Lee allegedly misrepresented her compliance with the residency rules from 29th October, 2019, to 31st October, 2021, and deceived the University of Hong Kong into disbursing more than HK$720,000 in rental, subsidy, and administrative expenses. The ICAC found that Lee and her parents lived in another property in the New Territories during the period, while a friend stayed alone in the Kowloon unit that Leeused to apply for the rental subsidy. The University would not have disbursed any funds if it had known that Lee did not comply with the relevant residency rules.

The defendant has been granted bail and is expected to appear before the Eastern Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 24th March. The prosecution is expected to apply to transfer the case to the District Court at a later stage. If convicted, Lee faces imprisonment for up to 14 years.

Lee has published books and book chapters on land law and intellectual property law for students, teachers and practitioners. She is a contributing author of the LexisNexis looseleaf publication Intellectual Property Rights: Hong Kong SAR and PRC (with Michael Pendleton and Jared Margolis).